Make people feel good, in an abstract way.
(If you missed this week’s episode, you can catch up here.)
A recent article in Salon asserted that, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there is a direct correlation between how many men are in the military compared to how many women are in it. As you might expect, no such connection exists, but the author of the article, a professor of economics at Yale and a professional feminist, nonetheless believed that this causal link must be there, lest feminists be accused of perpetuating stereotypes and thereby ruining the “real war” in which men are not involved.
The following exchange on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s webpage appears to demonstrate why he thinks this correlation is not there:
My question for you is if you were to draw a correlation between the high level of women in the armed services and the relatively low level of women in the population, such that women are more effective fighters for the U.S. and therefore in the interest of society, then how could this happen? Is there some social, economic or military basis to this phenomenon?
I think this may be an important topic. To be clear, however, I’m not saying that I think there is any causal relationship between gender roles and military deployment, or that women are more effective fighters than men. What I’m saying is that, if we find that women are deployed more for the right reasons, we can expect that this will also affect military deployment at the same time in our society, because, by virtue of gender roles, women, or more accurately, women who are female, are also less likely to be in the military with their male counterparts when it comes to their military careers. A causal relationship does not imply causation.
So what is the social or economic reason behind the high number of women in the military or in the civilian workforce and how could it lead to the low number of women in the military?
First, it’s important to note that this association is in no way conclusive because what we can say is that men have been deployed less and women have been deployed more. That is to say, a man may be forced to join the military or not because of one or more things associated with his gender, which women may not be. So that’s one reason why this correlation may not necessarily be causal.
What we have to look for is what are the “other things,” including whether it’s because in war time,
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